Author Interview: Rachel Gladstone-Gelman

Self Published Authors in pleased to present Rachel Gladstone-Gelman.  Her book, In Public, is now avalible and sounds like a wonderful read.  Thanks Rachel!

Author Name:  Rachel Gladstone-Gelman
 Book Title:  In Public 

Book Price:  $8.95

 Where can we buy In PublicDue to my experience with intellectual property theft and the further potential for it, the only legitimate way to purchase the book is directly through me, snail mail.  I live in Canada, but charge $8.95 to everyone, other than for bulk sales.  I ask people to contact me through my e-mail address at RGladstone-Gelman@pinatapoet.com.
 How would you describe the essence of In Public?  It’s a collection of poems.  The editor of In Public described it as haiku-type.  The haiku, itself, seems to always be morphing, so he might be onto something.  The poems are free verse and short to short-ish.  Short as your classic haiku to, well, over a page.  The topics are a range and, with my two chapbooks which I published at, roughly, the same time, are the result of poems chosen from all those I’d written, divided into three organized collections.  In Public is the culmination of personal experiences and observations, as, I know, so many poems are.  It addresses a range of emotions so, depending on how you’re feeling, you’re bound to find something in it to address/match your mood.  And, as my husband put it, “a life laid bare in verse.”
 Why did you feel driven to write In Public?  It was something like The Pied Piper of Hamlin.  There was this general movement of the poets I’d met at readings, and a close friend was doing it, although he’d been in the industry for a while.  He had tried the conventional route and was frustrated by the lack of control he had that way, so he decided to do it himself.  It was almost harshly rare to find someone who could wedge their way in with a traditional publisher.  I had written a fair number of poems and felt sort of encouraged or prodded to go along.  But, really, with so many poems, it didn’t take much prodding.
 Is there a message behind your book that you’d like your readers to know about?  It’s in the essence of the book and the need to speak.  And hoping readers enjoy my approach to the craft.  I admit that my brand of free verse is somewhat quirky.  I make even some experienced writers and readers of poetry really look between the lines and within the words.  I’m not a “slice of life” kind of poet.  But, since I anchor my poems with my mantra of “honest, imagery, freedom”, it helps me to, at least, feel like I’m giving something so that readers can hold on for the ride.  Not all my poems are so quirky.
 Are you working on another book at the moment?  That’s a question with a huge answer.  I have the two chapbooks (Tear Here and Gentle on the Heart).  In Public is a full-length collection.  80 pages.  I do have another full-length collection that, while I was looking for a publisher, received near-acceptance from two houses.  One couldn’t afford to promote a non-local author—the publisher is in the U.K.; the other said the tone of the book was too…confident.  They told me in a very apologetic, long letter.  The bottom line:  They really wanted to take on the project, but it went against their grain of “vulnerability.”  I have since left the project for my kids to take on after I’m gone.  Due to its theme, marketing will be very different.  It’s a surprise.
 I also have a couple of non-fiction ideas which, as yet, have not been accepted by agents.  One is on emigration and one is political.  Since they are non-fiction, I’ve been reticent to write that much of either manuscript before I’m asked to steer it in a certain direction.
 How have you been promoting In Public?  When I first started on the self-publishing journey, I joined a lot of others who learned the hard way.  We discovered the things that we should have done but when the book had not only already gone to print, but was maybe even in the living room in boxes.  We didn’t know to send the galleys to places that review books—six months before sending it to the printer!  Therefore, I had blurbs that could only go on my website and, if lucky, in an ad.  I didn’t have money to go on tour or to provide for credit card purchases and it’s tough to go on tour with really young kids (in school), anyway.  I lived in New York at the time and was asleep at the wheel when it came to the annual showcase that I’d been reminded of many times through ads.  I just didn’t make the connection.  It would have allowed me, in one fell swoop, to show all three books to libraries.  Instead, I had to do it the long, arduous and still-uninformed way of mailings—snail, that is, with rather decent flyers but, alas, a link.  Another thing I later learned was that libraries didn’t want your links.
 As for more “contemporary” promoting, I’ve been staying, for the most part, off the not-so-merry-go-round.  Google and Amazon and other online stores have made it so treacherous, due to scanning and “out-of-print” sellers, that my lone marketing has been from my site at www.pinatapoet.com, as well as at my LinkedIn page.  There’s been a bit of local marketing, too, but the late, local introduction was due to Canada’s emigration rule of waiting three years before you can sell goods you bring in.
 I’ve tried Twitter, but it didn’t work out.  I don’t get along well with most social networking sites.  Still, my newest attempt at expressing myself is through Tumblr at RGladstone-Gelman.tumblr.com.  So far, the emphasis is on expressing how I’m feeling, letting people who like poetry learn something about my work through previously-published selections I post and reminding people of my primary site.  By the way, In Public has several previously-published selections in it.  The chapbooks have some previously-published work, as well.
 Any words of advice for those writers who want to be where you are some day?  Keep practicing.  I don’t write in rhyme because I want the thoughts and words to flow as fluently as possible.  Most rhyming poems communicate the effort in achieving the rhyme.  When I’m reading, I want to see what is being discussed, and not be drawn to an effort which too often appears obvious.  Therefore, just write, but give your readers something to hold onto.  Imagery.  And be honest.  And since poetry publishers are subjective, you can’t afford to stop submitting after a rejection.  Plus, you will, undoubtedly, notice how some publishers haven’t even read the work before rejecting it.  You abided by their “theme” guidelines—and they say you didn’t.  They didn’t read it.  This is one of the more obvious reasons to not just stop after a rejection. 
You know your work deserves more respect than that.  Just because editors are busy, they don’t have to be that rude, and some editors become editors because they’re tired of how they were treated as writers.  And beware of magazines that say there is no theme.  One will develop as submissions roll in.  They’ll then tell you—all of a sudden—that you didn’t submit according to the theme.  Oh, and that SASE.  You cannot, I repeat, cannot forget a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope) when sending a snail submission.  Small presses can’t afford the postage and you will be “punished.”  Even major magazines expect the SASE.  I think I forgot a SASE once
I had read enough stories and spoke to a friend who told me a story, so I always included one.  Remember that SASE!  There was a time when I remembered the SASE but the publisher misplaced it—and gave me a snail lecture.  I told him to look for the SASE that I had, indeed, sent.  Of course, there was no “Oh, we found it” on their part, even though they’d found it.
 Notice how I sound kind of past tense.  For personal reasons…and intellectual property theft, I haven’t written much poetry at all in very recent years.  The internet has helped to kill “it” for me.  Still, I have copies of my books that (don’t laugh too hard) I want to keep out of bookstores and put in the hands of readers who care.
 And one last bit of advice:  Develop a thick skin as soon as you can, not just for dealing with rejections, but for dealing with criticism, especially in these tech times.  I developed a thick skin quickly, but I don’t accept today’s terms of sharing the same turf with those who so clearly engage in intellectual property theft.
Author Bio:
 Rachel is from New York and emigrated to Canada in the summer of 2006.  Her work has appeared in a number of in print and online publications.  She currently has three self-published titles available through her website at www.pinatapoet.com.

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